KATHMANDU, June 12: The Supreme Court has sought a written answer from the government regarding why the illegal extraction of sand, pebbles and stones from the Sunkoshi river was not stopped.
A single bench of Chief Justice Cholendra Shamsher JB Rana issued an order to this effect in the name of the defendants, in response to a writ filed on June 6 by advocates Padam Bahadur Shrestha and Chiranjivi Bhattarai seeking a mandamus order from the apex court to stop the illegal mining of sand, pebbles and stones from the river bank and bed.
The court has ordered the defendants – the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Forests and Environment and other bodies – to submit written reply within June 23 why the illegal extraction of the river-based materials was not stopped.
Petitioners have sought intervention for immediately implementing and have implemented the laws related to the extraction, management and sale and distribution of river-based materials, citing that the legal provisions which should have been effectively enforced and implemented have been neglected.
The illegal mining of river-based materials like sand, pebbles, stones on the bank of Sunkoshi river on both sides and the river bed from Bahrabise municipality bazaar to Dolalghat has obstructed the river's natural flow and changed its shape, the writ argues.
The writ states that the formation of big pools due to the illegal mining on the bank of the river on its two sides has spoiled the beauty of the river and also threatened its very existence, and also argues for river conservation by law since there would be long-term environmental effect on humans, wildlife, aquatic animals, waterway, highway, forests and the tourism entrepreneurs due to such rampant excavation activities.